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Luxurious Lemon Ice Cream Recipe

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Never made lemon ice cream before? Worried it might curdle? Look no further than this easy lemon ice cream recipe! With helpful tips and step by step pictures from start to finish, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with both the simplicity and the creamy results. Keep reading for the full recipe.

Homemade lemon ice cream and a spoon in a loaf tin

Homemade lemon ice cream

Making your own ice cream is the most wonderful thing. Not only because you get to lick the bowls and spoons along the way (yummy!), but also because you can tailor make it to your exact likes!

Think about it. The possibilities are endless! Once you’ve made this lemon ice cream, you can use the base recipe and switch up the flavours. You could also add in extras like chocolate chips, crushed biscuits or even brownie pieces.

There are many ways to make ice cream. In this easy lemon ice cream recipe, I use a classic custard base. This is because I believe it to give the most rich and creamy results.

If you’d rather not make a custard based ice cream, this ultimate homemade ice cream recipe might be more what you’re looking for.

That being said, I really do think that it’s worth the minimal extra effort. I can’t express how smooth and creamy this lemon ice cream is. It’s utterly divine! I know you’ll love it.

Whole, squeezed and sliced lemons in a bowl on stacked books

What is lemon ice cream made of?

There are lots of recipes out there for lemon ice cream, but this one is made of lemons, cream, sugar and egg yolks. That’s it. Just 4 ingredients!

The key is making sure you use quality ingredients to bring out the best flavour possible.

Lemon ice cream melting down a waffle cone

How do you make homemade ice cream without a machine?

There are a couple of ways to do this. Most commonly, make your ice cream and freeze it in a tub. Then stir well every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours to prevent large ice crystals forming.

Alternatively, you can use a condensed milk based recipe like this no churn Nutella ice cream. Using condensed milk keeps the ice cream quite soft and prevents the formation of large ice crystals. Usually you don’t need to keep stirring this type, and can simply freeze and forget about it.

I do recommend getting a churner if you can though. They’re inexpensive and make the most amazingly smooth ice creams!

Juiced lemons, whole lemons and lemon slices with a juicer

What are the best lemons to use?

Always use unwaxed lemons if you can get them. Especially as we allow the rinds to soak in the custard base overnight.

If you use waxed lemons, you might end up with an odd taste in the end result. You don’t want to go to all that effort and not like the taste do you?!

Lemon ice cream in a loaf tin

Why does my ice cream curdle when I add lemon?

Science has taught us that when citrus is added to dairy, it curdles. However, when done in a certain way, adding lemon to cream is possible. And very delicious!

The trick is two-fold. Turn your cream into custard first. Then juice your lemons. Refrigerate both separately until cold.

Now you can add your lemon juice into your custard and it won’t curdle. Tadah! It’s important to make sure both the custard and lemon juice are the same temperature. If you add warm lemon juice to cold custard, or the other way around, it’s still likely to curdle.

Someone pouring cream into a saucepan

Ingredients and substitutions

Confused about what ingredients to buy? Not sure about a substitution? Here’s all that you need to know…

  • Lemon – Use large unwaxed lemons if possible. As we steep the lemon rind in the custard overnight, you may get a funny taste if you use waxed lemons.
  • Single Cream – We need a combination of creams in this recipe. Otherwise the mixture would be too thick or too thin. Single or pouring cream works perfectly. In the US? Use light cream instead.
  • Double Cream – This is what gives the ice cream it’s creaminess and richness. Don’t skimp here, use a full fat dairy double cream, or the flavour and texture won’t be as luxurious as you expect it to be! Use heavy cream in the US.
  • Sugar – Caster sugar (superfine in the US) is ideal. Due to it’s smaller granules, it dissolves quickly into the cream. Which is what we want. Ideally, don’t substitute for thicker grained sugars like granulated.
  • Salt – Table salt is fine. No need to get fancy! It’s going to melt into it anyway.
  • Eggs – The higher quality your eggs, the more ‘yellow/orange’ your ice cream colour will be. Not only will it taste rich, but it will look it too! Any medium eggs will work though. But go for quality if you can.
Close up of melting homemade lemon ice cream in a waffle cone

Recipe tips and troubleshooting

Here are tips you’ll find helpful when making this recipe.

  • Make sure you allow enough time. This recipe has overnight chilling involved, and that’s something that can’t be rushed!
  • Use unwaxed lemons for the best flavour.
  • Don’t skip adding the salt! You season your dinner, why wouldn’t you do the same for dessert?
  • If your ice cream machine requires it, don’t forget to pre-freeze the bowl.
  • Worried your lemon ice cream will curdle? Just make sure your custard and the lemon juice are cold before you mix the two together. It’ll all work out fine.
  • Want to turn this into an indulgent dessert in it’s own right? Serve it with some luxurious white chocolate sauce!
Someone getting a spoonful of lemon ice cream

Time management

Have limited time? Struggle with recipe timings? Or juggling around other things? Here’s some time managing info to make your life easier.

  • Make sure you allow for the overnight chilling section of this recipe.
  • The custard base will take approximately 15-20 minutes to make.
  • Once your custard base has chilled overnight, there is only 2 further minutes of prep before it’s ready to churn.
  • Churning your ice cream will take approximately 20 minutes. (This may vary depending on your machine.)
Scattered lemon ice cream ingredients and waffle cones

If you like this recipe…

…you might also like:

Lemon Ice Cream – Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Please note the overnight chilling time in this recipe. And remember to pre-freeze your ice cream machine bowl if yours requires it.


Here is what you will need to make approx 900ml (2 US pints).

  • 2 x Unwaxed Lemons
  • 300ml (1 + 1/4 Cups) Single Cream
  • 300ml (1 + 1/4 Cups) Double Cream
  • 225g (1 Cup) Caster Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3 x Egg Yolks

Essential equipment

  • Sharp Knife
  • Chopping Board
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Small Bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Ice Cream Machine/Churner


First, slice the rind off the lemons (x 2) using a sharp knife and chopping board.

Be more careful than I was about including the white pith. This can add a bitter taste to your ice cream. So take care to just slice the outer yellow rind.

Lemons with the rinds sliced off

Next, juice both lemons (using a citrus juicer) and pour the juice into a small bowl. Cover and chill ready for later.

Lemons being juiced

Now add the single cream (300ml | 1 + 1/4 Cups), double cream (300ml | 1 + 1/4 Cups), caster sugar (225g | 1 Cup) and salt (pinch) to a saucepan. Toss in the lemon rinds from earlier.

Custard base ingredients in a saucepan

Then add your egg yolks (x 3) to a separate mixing bowl.

3 egg yolks in a large bowl

Place the saucepan over a low/ medium heat, stirring frequently. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from the heat.

Lemon custard ingredients in a saucepan on the hob

Back to the egg yolks… Give them a quick whisk then, very slowly, begin to pour in some of the hot cream while constantly whisking.

Continue to slowly add and whisk, until you’ve used around half of the hot cream.

Hot lemon cream being poured over egg yolks and whisked

Now pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and place over a low/medium heat.

Lemon custard heating up in a saucepan

Heat the mixture while stirring continuously. After a few minutes, it should begin to thicken. Continue to stir until it reaches a ‘thin custard’ consistency.

Thickened lemon custard in a saucepan

Once it reaches this stage, remove from the heat, pour into a mixing bowl, and allow to come to room temperature. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

Lemon custard in a large mixing bowl

Then cover and chill overnight. (Don’t skip this part as it will effect how well your ice cream churns!)

In the morning, remove the lemon rinds from the custard. (Which will now have thickened quite a lot.)

Chilled lemon custard with the lemon rinds removed

Then pour in the lemon juice and stir it through. So long as both your custard and the lemon juice are cold, it shouldn’t curdle.

Lemon custard in a bowl with lemon juice being added
Chilled lemon ice cream mixture in a large bowl

Finally, churn your ice cream according to the manufacturers instructions. It should only take about 20-25 minutes.

Lemon ice cream mixture in an ice cream churner
Churned lemon ice cream in a churner

Spoon your homemade lemon ice cream into a tin or plastic tub and freeze.

How to store homemade lemon ice cream

Store your lemon ice cream either in an air tight tub, or a metal loaf tin that’s wrapped very well. Freeze and consume within 3-4 months.

Lemon ice cream in a loaf tin with scoops in the middle

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Homemade lemon ice cream and a spoon in a loaf tin
Lemon ice cream melting down a waffle cone
Homemade lemon ice cream and a spoon in a loaf tin

Luxurious Lemon Ice Cream - Printable Recipe

Yield: 900ml (2 US Pints)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 8 hours
Churn Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 40 minutes

Never made lemon ice cream before? Worried it might curdle? Look no further than this easy lemon ice cream recipe! I guarantee you’ll fall in love with both the simplicity and the creamy results.


  • 2 x Unwaxed Lemons
  • 300ml (1 + 1/4 Cups) Single Cream
  • 300ml (1 + 1/4 Cups) Double Cream
  • 225g (1 Cup) Caster Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3 x Egg Yolks

Essential Equipment

  • Sharp Knife
  • Chopping Board
  • Saucepan
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Small Bowl
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Ice Cream Machine/Churner


  1. Slice the rind off the lemons and place them into a saucepan.
  2. Juice the lemons and pour it into a small bowl. Cover and chill for later.
  3. Add the single cream, double cream, sugar and salt to the saucepan with the lemon rind. Place over a low/medium heat. Stirring continuously, heat until it just comes to the boil. Then immediately remove from the heat.
  4. Place your egg yolks into a large mixing bowl and briefly whisk. Then very slowly add some hot cream, while whisking constantly. Continue to whisk and add until you have used about half of the cream.
  5. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and return it to a low/medium heat.
  6. Gently heat while stirring continuously. Continue until the mixture has thickened, and resembles a thin custard consistency.
  7. Allow to cool completely, before covering and refrigerating overnight.
  8. The following morning, remove the lemon rinds from the custard and stir through the lemon juice. (Your custard and lemon juice must both be chilled to prevent curdling.)
  9. Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturers instructions. (This should take around 20 mins). Once it's a thick ice cream consistency, transfer to an air tight tub and freeze until needed.


Please note the overnight chilling part of this recipe before you begin.

Pre-freeze your ice cream churner bowl if your machine requires it.

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the sections Ingredients and Substitutions, Recipe Tips and Troubleshooting and Time Management for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe. You can find them in the main body of this post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 36mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

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Other tasty citrus ice cream recipes

About Emma Mason

Emma is a professional blogger. Utilising over 20 years of cooking experience, she’s passionate about making your life easier, one recipe at a time! Drawing on her 12+ year background in recipe research and development, photography, copy writing and marketing, Emma has turned into a successful career. Known as ‘the organisation queen’ among friends, she is passionate about creating easy to follow recipes that anyone can follow and enjoy. She lives in Nottingham (UK) with her husband, daughter and 2 naughty cats. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, training at the dojo preparing for her black belt grading, or dreaming up the next crazy colour combo for her hair!

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Chantel Keona

Friday 23rd of September 2022

This looks so good. Thanks for sharing.


Friday 23rd of September 2022

Aww thank you for your kind words Chantel! You’re very welcome :) Emma x

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